Eye Contacts Do Not Transmit �Apollo�

Acute Noragic Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye (conjunctiva) and the inner surface of the eyelids. It is an allergic reaction which usually starts with one eye, spreads to the other quite readily resulting in red, irritated eyes. �Apollo� as it is generally called in Ghana, is characterised by symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching, and burning of the eyes. Quite a typical symptom is the discharge from the eye which glue eyelids together overnight making it quite difficult for one to easily open his/her eyes upon waking in the morning. Eyes become extremely sensitive to light and the feeling of griminess may also be felt. The degree of symptoms varies from minimal redness and irritation to severe swelling, discharge, and decreased vision. According to Ophthalmologists, the infection is mostly caused by a Virus. However, bacterial infections, allergies, other irritants and dryness can also cause the infection. Owing to the contagious nature of viral and bacterial infections, conjunctival infections are said to be very contagious. As such it is widely believed, especially in Ghana, that one can get infected with the disease by looking into the eyes of an infected person. Dr. Kofi Davids of VALUMED Medical Centre however describes that widely held perception as a �myth� when he spoke on the �Vodafone Health Line Radio Show� on Accra-based Citi FM. He said it is not possible to contract the disease by merely looking into the eyes of an infected person without any physical contact. Dr. Davids explained that �Apollo is basically transmitted by hand to mouth, purely contact based. The infection is faecal-oral and cannot as it were �hop� from one eye to another by just looking into the eyes of an infected person�. If for instance a person with the infection rubs the eyes and use same to touch an object, another could end up getting infected by touching the object. The infection can thus be passed on from one person to another only through contacts to contaminated objects. Using items such as towels and swimming pools with an infected person can cause one to get infected. For this reason, infected persons are often advised to quarantine themselves until the infection is treated. Dr. Davids emphasised that treatment for Acute Noragic Conjunctivitis is mainly supportive, largely aimed at relieving the discomfort associated with the symptoms of the infection. Apollo infection ordinarily should disappear in five to seven days. Dr. Davids advised that �If it is not resolved in five to seven days, there may be a secondary bacterial infection which is usually treated by doctors with anti-biotics to reduce itching, etc. It is advisable to wear dark sun-glasses to hide the unsightly nature of the infection."